This piece is about one specific way I find Joe Davis annoying, but before we get into that: Joe Davis is good at his job.
I prefer Davis‘ baseball work, but that’s not a slight given how good he is as Fox’s lead MLB voice. And Davis has undeniably filled in admirably as Fox’s #2 play-by-play man this year as well beneath new top broadcaster Kevin Burkhardt. I’m glad Davis is in the roles he’s currently in, and overall I am never really annoyed to have him on a call.
That said, this is media criticism, and as you’ve probably guessed from the headline, there’s something about how Davis calls NFL action that’s grating.
As a Bears fan, I’ve had Davis (and Daryl Johnston and Pam Oliver and the rest of the Fox #2 crew) last week and this week, as the network tried to take advantage of both the Justin Fields surge to prominence and the big markets involved. Sunday’s game against the Jets was pretty ugly (thanks to Fields being out and a driving rainstorm), leading to a 31-10 loss for the Bears. But it was still likely a fun watch for Jets fans.
That said, here’s Davis calling a Mike White touchdown pass midway through the third quarter:
DROP AN ? IN THE CHAT
— New York Jets (@nyjets) November 27, 2022
While it was certainly a big play, and the Mike White storyline was a big one heading into the week given New York’s decision to bench Zach Wilson, do we really need that shift in volume? This is a very bad Bears team getting beaten exactly as you’d expect for a fairly routine touchdown pass. Davis calls the action here in the exact same way he’d call a game-winning Hail Mary in the Super Bowl.
That kind of full blast shouting will always get old, especially for big NFL matchups. It’s one of the reasons Joe Tessitore‘s work on Monday Night Football never really drew raves; what gets people up for a late college football matchup doesn’t always work in a big NFL matchup. Viewers are already invested.
This isn’t to say that exuberance is always unwelcome. It’s fine, and occasionally things happen that demand a strong call. It certainly beats the opposite, where you’d get the early Joe Buck-like minimalism that makes moments feel smaller. (Buck is much better now and has been for years.)
Davis is young and isn’t primarily a football broadcaster. He’s certainly not a finished product, and he’s good at what he does already. But, Joe, please: don’t go full volume for Mike White against a very bad team. Pick your spots!